Ballot Questions
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Ballot Questions

The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter is like the city's constitution, describing the overall structure of government. The Charter can be amended when City Council sends proposed changes to voters in the form of ballot questions. On the November ballot, there will be one proposed Charter amendment for voters to consider for a yes/no vote.

Question #1: Office for People with Disabilities

Ballot Question: Should the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to create an Office for People with Disabilities to coordinate the City’s compliance with requirements to provide access for people with disabilities to City services and programs and to otherwise provide for incorporation of the Office into the City government?

Plain English Statement: The City’s Home Rule Charter sets up the framework of City government. The Charter is the City’s constitution. An existing office that was created by the mayor, called the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, works to make City services and programs accessible for people with disabilities. That office could be eliminated at any time. If you vote “yes” on this ballot question, that means you approve of creating a more permanent Office for People with Disabilities in City government for the same purposes

Seventy says: According to its page on the city’s website, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities “advocates for policies, programs, and systemic changes that maximize independence and community integration for Philadelphians with disabilities,” some 16% of the city’s population, according to a 2016 estimate. It was created by Mayor Kenney in 2017 to take on a more hands-on approach to its advocacy mission than the already existing Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities a volunteer advisory board, had been able to do. But Kenney did so with an executive order, so a future mayor could disband it. This measure, spearheaded by Council member Kendra Brooks, would prevent that, and if voters approve it, the office could be dissolved only by another ballot question—not by mayoral action. It is similar to offices in other major cities, including New York and Los Angeles, and so far no organized opposition to it has emerged.

(Ballot Question and Plain English Statement language provided by the Philadelphia City Commissioners office.)